The Dirty Shingles

According to their press release, Dirty Shingles are a local power duo consisting of Richie on guitar and vocals and drummer Martin. Ploughing a similar blues/rock furrow to The Black Keys, the pair have been in bands together for years, but decided to strike out on their own towards the end of last year, making their debut appearance at the Cellar Bar in Boscombe. For their debut album, the band holed up in Conversion Studios, Gillingham for two days with engineer Josh Parker, who captured eight original songs live, with minimal production or studio trickery. The unusual title, ‘How to Handle a Highbrow Honey’ was lifted from a copy of “Wink” (important to insert the correct vowel there), a vintage American men’s magazine unearthed in a backstreet shop in Soho and according to the duo, it perfectly captures the attitude of the album, not quite sure what that means, but here goes anyway.

First track, “Blue”, an instrumental, sets the overall tone of what’s to come with a barrage of overdriven soloing over thrashing drums. Later on “The Thing”, the second vocal free offering, is not quite so frantic, a series of chord progressions and riffs underpinned by Martin’s steady rock beat just about holds the interest. Of the six vocal outings, “Shattered Lane” stands out as an highlight, with its ear-worm of a guitar sequence during the verse and double tracked (or is it an octaver pedal?) solo driven on by a military snare drum pattern from Martin, it’s the song I keep returning to, a sure fire winner. “Getting Out of Hell”, the longest song on display here clocking in at just under six minutes, is a standard rock track that could have been shorter, as it fails to develop from its standard verse, chorus format. Woman troubles crop up in “Don’t Tell Me More Lies” and “Bad Time to Fall in Love” a couple of overt rockers, the former built on a catchy six note riff sounds familiar, but I can’t put my finger on where I may have heard it before and the latter, a zippy ditty, chugs along at a fair old pace, I can imagine it being a blast live. “Too Much Pressure” (not the old Selecter song), is the closest we get to a slow song here, with its jazzy chords (possibly some open tuning in play here) and tasteful middle section. Finally “Can’t Wake Up” brings proceedings to a satisfying close, with its interesting drum pattern intro and more double tracked guitar.

The Dirty Shingles

All in all not a bad effort, more rock than blues to my ears and the generic lyrics are nothing to write home about, but the musicianship more than compensates, as these two really lock together to create a tight, powerful groove. Personally I would like to hear a bass anchoring the bottom end, but that’s just my preference and shouldn’t put you off from giving ‘How to Handle a Highbrow Honey’ a fair hearing. Apparently, they are actively looking for gigs and the website is up and running, so there is no excuse not to check them out.

Track List
Don’t Tell Me More Lies
Shattered Lane
Too Much Pressure
Getting Out of Hell
The Thing
Bad Time to Fall in Love
Can’t Wake Up



John Cherry